1Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us,
2just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us,
3it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus,
4that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.
5There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.
6And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless.
7But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years.
8So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division,
9according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord.
10And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense.
11Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense.
12And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him.
13But the angel said to him, "Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John.
14And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.
15For he will be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit, even from his mother's womb.
16And he will turn many of the children of Israel to the Lord their God.
17He will also go before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, "to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children,' and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready a people prepared for the Lord."
18And Zacharias said to the angel, "How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is well advanced in years."
19And the angel answered and said to him, "I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and was sent to speak to you and bring you these glad tidings.
20But behold, you will be mute and not able to speak until the day these things take place, because you did not believe my words which will be fulfilled in their own time."
21And the people waited for Zacharias, and marveled that he lingered so long in the temple.
22But when he came out, he could not speak to them; and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple, for he beckoned to them and remained speechless.
23So it was, as soon as the days of his service were completed, that he departed to his own house.
24Now after those days his wife Elizabeth conceived; and she hid herself five months, saying,
25"Thus the Lord has dealt with me, in the days when He looked on me, to take away my reproach among people."
26Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,
27to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary.
28And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!"
29But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was.
30Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.
31And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.
32He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.
33And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end."
34Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?"
35And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.
36Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren.
37For with God nothing will be impossible."
38Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her.
39Now Mary arose in those days and went into the hill country with haste, to a city of Judah,
40and entered the house of Zacharias and greeted Elizabeth.
41And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
42Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, "Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!
43But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
44For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.
45Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord."
46And Mary said: "My soul magnifies the Lord,
47And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.
48For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.
49For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name.
50And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation.
51He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts.
52He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly.
53He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty.
54He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy,
55As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed forever."
56And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her house.
57Now Elizabeth's full time came for her to be delivered, and she brought forth a son.
58When her neighbors and relatives heard how the Lord had shown great mercy to her, they rejoiced with her.
59So it was, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him by the name of his father, Zacharias.
60His mother answered and said, "No; he shall be called John."
61But they said to her, "There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name."
62So they made signs to his father--what he would have him called.
63And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote, saying, "His name is John." So they all marveled.
64Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God.
65Then fear came on all who dwelt around them; and all these sayings were discussed throughout all the hill country of Judea.
66And all those who heard them kept them in their hearts, saying, "What kind of child will this be?" And the hand of the Lord was with him.
67Now his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying:
68"Blessed is the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited and redeemed His people,
69And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of His servant David,
70As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets, Who have been since the world began,
71That we should be saved from our enemies And from the hand of all who hate us,
72To perform the mercy promised to our fathers And to remember His holy covenant,
73The oath which He swore to our father Abraham:
74To grant us that we, Being delivered from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear,
75In holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our life.
76"And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways,
77To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins,
78Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us;
79To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace."
80So the child grew and became strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his manifestation to Israel.